October 2012 Archives


It is a sad day when the government starts cracking down on free speech like this. It is done in the name of protecting people from racism when, ironically, the criticism they are silencing is directed against the racist policies of the State of Israel!

I suspect that this legislation is something of a first. I’ve heard of laws that forbid you to criticize your own government (perhaps that’s the hallmark of a totalitarian regime) but this is the first time I’ve ever heard of a law that forbids you to criticize the policies of a foreign government!

The full text of the amended bill (HR 35) is below. It starts to read like a commendable prohibition against incitement to violence against Jewish people but then, lumped in alongside this, is the censuring of all criticism of the State of Israel’s domestic policies! According to the Bill it is now illegal to argue that “Israel is a racist, apartheid, or Nazi state, that Israel is guilty of heinous crimes against humanity such as ethnic cleansing and genocide.”

How is this possible? How can anyone enshrine in a law that Israel is not (and presumably never can be) a racist or apartheid state? I don’t know how people are supposed to engage in constructive discourse about the blatantly discriminatory actions of the Israeli government against the Palestinian people if the state has already been found innocent with out a trial! Extraordinary!

Father Dave




INTRODUCED BY Assembly Members Halderman and Bonnie Lowenthal (Coauthors: Assembly Members Achadjian, Beall, Block, Blumenfield, Butler, Cook, Fong, Furutani, Galgiani, Gatto, Gordon, Hagman, Mansoor, Miller, Monning, Portantino, and Williams)

AUGUST 6, 2012

Relative to anti-Semitism.



WHEREAS, The frequency and severity of incidents of contemporary global anti-Semitism are increasing according to reports by representatives from nations around the world, including the United States Department of State in 2008, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in 2004, and the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism in 2009; and

WHEREAS, On July 20, 2009, the United States Senate unanimously approved a resolution that unequivocally condemns all forms of anti-Semitism and rejects attempts to rationalize anti-Jewish hatred or attacks as a justifiable expression of disaffection or frustration over political events in the Middle East or elsewhere, and decries the comparison of Jews to Nazis perpetrating the Holocaust or genocide as a pernicious form of anti-Semitism; and

WHEREAS, The United States Department of State, the United Kingdom’ s All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism , and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe have adopted or endorsed the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights’ working definition of anti-Semitism, which notes that in context certain language or behavior demonizes and delegitimizes Israel or attacks Israel with classic anti-Semitic stereotypes, such as denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli police to that of the Nazis, and accusing the Jewish people, or Israel, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust; and

WHEREAS, The United States Commission on Civil Rights reported in 2006 that anti-Semitism exists on some college campuses and is often cloaked as criticism of Israel, and recommended that colleges and universities ensure that students are protected from actions that could create a hostile anti-Semitic environment; and

WHEREAS, Over the last decade some Jewish students on public postsecondary education institution campuses in California have experienced the following: (1) physical aggression, harassment, and intimidation by members of student or community groups in student-sponsored protests and rallies held on campus; (2) speakers, films, and exhibits sponsored by student, faculty, and community groups that engage in anti-Semitic discourse or use anti-Semitic imagery and language to falsely describe Israel, Zionists, and Jews, including that Israel is a racist, apartheid, or Nazi state, that Israel is guilty of heinous crimes against humanity such as ethnic cleansing and genocide, that the Jewish state should be destroyed, that violence against Jews is justified, that Jews exaggerate the Holocaust as a tool of Zionist propaganda, and that Jews in America wield excessive power over American foreign policy; (3) swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti in residential halls, public areas on campus, and Hillel houses; (4) student- and faculty-sponsored boycott, divestment, and sanction campaigns against Israel that are a means of demonizing Israel and seek to harm the Jewish state; (5) actions of student groups that encourage support for terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah and openly advocate terrorism against Israel and the Jewish people; and (6) suppression and disruption of free speech that present Israel’s point of view; and

WHEREAS, California public postsecondary educational institutions are admired throughout the world for their excellence and diversity, and it is important that they provide continued leadership in the fight against anti-Semitism; and

WHEREAS, While the response by California public postsecondary educational institutions to incidents of hate and intimidation, including anti-Semitism, with actions designed to make their campuses safer and more inclusive of diverse students, faculty, and staff have increased, the problem requires additional serious attention on both a campuswide and systemwide basis; and

WHEREAS, The Assembly commends the initial actions taken by the University of California (UC)  to address anti-Semitism on its campuses such as: (1) refusal by the UC Board of Regents and the President of UC to consider divesture from companies doing business with Israel; (2) strengthening UC’s systemwide policies prohibiting student conduct motivated by bias, including religious bias; (3) implementation of a campus climate reporting system allowing any member of a UC campus community to report incidents of intolerance or bias and development of a comprehensive UC systemwide campus climate assessment; (4) the formation of an Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion whose members have conducted in-depth visits with Jewish students and groups on UC campuses to better understand their concerns and challenges and report back to the President of the UC; and (5) immediate statements by UC leaders strongly condemning specific acts of intolerance or bias when they occur; and

WHEREAS, The Assembly urges both the University of California and the California State University to take additional actions to confront anti-Semitism on its campuses, with due respect to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; and

WHEREAS, While these actions are important steps, strong leadership from the top remains an important priority so that no administrator, faculty, or student group can be in any doubt that anti-Semitic activity will not be tolerated in the classroom or on campus, and that no public resources will be allowed to be used for anti-Semitic or any intolerant agitation; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, That the Assembly unequivocally condemns all forms of intolerance, including anti-Semitism, on public postsecondary educational institution campuses in California; and be it further

Resolved, That the Assembly recognizes recent actions by officials of public postsecondary educational institutions in California and calls upon those institutions to increase their efforts to swiftly and unequivocally condemn acts of anti-Semitism on their campuses and to utilize existing resources, such as the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights’ working definition of anti-Semitism, to help guide campus discussion about, and promote, as appropriate, educational programs for combating anti-Semitism on their campuses; and be it further

Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

source: leginfo.ca.gov…


It’s hard to know how to interpret this. Jordan is hardly a shining light of democracy and free speech in the Middle East, and is tightly allied with the US. Why has King Abdullah chosen this moment to court controversy and speak out in the defence of the Palestinian people? Are we missing a piece to this puzzle?

Father Dave

source: jordantimes.com……

King Abdullah of Jordan

King warns against attempts to erase Jerusalem’s Muslim, Christian identity

His Majesty urges action for Mideast peace, reiterates need to end Syria bloodshed

The Jordan Times – September 26, 2012

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah warned against attempts to erase the Arab, Muslim, or Christian identity of Jerusalem or invade Al Aqsa Mosque.

Delivering an address at the plenary session of the 67th UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, the King urged the international community to send a clear message that any such transgressions will not be tolerated.

“We are extremely concerned by threats to Jerusalem and the sanctity of its Muslim and Christian holy sites,” he said, according to a transcript of the speech.

“The Al Aqsa Mosque and compound — Al Haram Al Sharif of East Jerusalem — is under Hashemite custodianship, a special role recognised by the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty, and protected as occupied territory by international law,” His Majesty said (see full text of the speech).

He noted that the importance of Al Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, to “one quarter of the world’s population” is similar to the importance of the Kaaba in Mecca.

“Let me be absolutely clear, any invasion or division of the site of Al Masjid Al Aqsa would be viewed, not only as a breach of Israel’s obligations, but as profound religious transgression.

“The international community must send a clear message that such a transgression — or any attempt to erase the Arab, Muslim, or Christian identity of Jerusalem — will not be tolerated,” King Abdullah said.

He reiterated that the current challenges facing the world should not make the international community lose focus “on the crisis at the heart of the region” — the Palestinian cause.

“For almost 65 years, the Palestinian people have been the exception to the UN promise. The shelter of international law and human rights: except… not yet. The dignity of living in freedom and security: except… not yet. The right to self-determination: except… not yet. Enough.”

His Majesty highlighted that the Arab Spring demanded dignity for all and also called for an end to “exceptionalism”.

“No single issue causes greater anger than to tell an entire people that when it comes to global justice, they don’t count.

“The Arab Summer cannot bear its full fruit, until the Palestinian-Israeli conflict ends, and ends with a just peace — and a Palestinian state living side by side with a secure Israel at peace with the entire region,” the King said.

“Earlier this year, in Amman, we succeeded in getting both sides back to the table for exploratory talks. Then positive traction stopped again. Illegal settlement building and unilateral actions continue, constituting direct threats to a negotiated peace,” he warned.

King Abdullah noted that “what is needed now is the full weight of our nations, united”, stressing that the both sides of the conflict and the entire world cannot afford continued hostility and insecurity.

“There may be a rare window of opportunity, later this year, after the US elections, to achieve what both sides so urgently need: two states, at peace, Palestine and Israel — both secure, both free to look forward — on the basis of a just, comprehensive and final settlement.”

His Majesty stressed that “it is time for Israel to turn around, look to the future we share, and make a just and lasting peace with the Palestinians”.

Syrian crisis

The King also touched on the “tragic situation” in Syria, stressing that the “violence must end immediately and a transition must begin now”.

“There is no alternative to a political solution, that will end the bloodshed, restore security and stability, and preserve the territorial integrity of Syria and the dignity and unity of its people,” he said.

His Majesty also highlighted the effect of hosting over 200,000 Syrian refugees on Jordan’s scarce resources.

“This has put heavy pressure on our limited resources and our economy. Yet we as Jordanians have opened our arms, as we have many times in the past for others in need,” he noted, stressing that more international support is required to deal with the exodus.

“We are very grateful for the generous response of governments, international bodies and dedicated UN organisations. The sombre reality is, however, that more will be needed, as the camps grow more crowded with vulnerable families and the cold desert winter approaches.

“I call upon the countries of the United Nations to work together to prevent a humanitarian disaster.”

The King also condemned any act that vilifies the name of Prophet Mohammad, Islam or any other religion or uses them to justify violence.

“There are no sidelines on this issue. All of us, of every faith, everywhere, must be pro-active in promoting understanding and a much stronger global dialogue,” he said.

“In Jordan we have charted our course guided by our heritage of mutual respect and moderation. Our Arab Spring journey is one of opportunity, to accelerate home-grown reforms and achieve national goals.”

The King also outlined the reform steps taken in Jordan since the last General Assembly meeting.

“Since then, new and comprehensive constitutional amendments, as well as new laws, have created a matrix of institutions and principles to support our path of reform and democratisation. And with the new year, we will have our new Parliament, and our Jordanian Summer will begin.”


Father Roy writes:   One of the things we have to admire about Philip Giraldi is that he’s no hypocrite.  And he doesn’t lack the courage to stand up and speak his mind, from his perspective.  Have you noticed?  If we are to believe what we read in the New Testament, Jesus had more to say about hypocrisy than any of the sexual sins.   Peace, Roy

source: original.antiwar.com…


Why I Dislike Israel

by Philip Giraldi

Even those pundits who seem to want to distance U.S. foreign policy from Tel Aviv’s demands and begin treating Israel like any other country sometimes feel compelled to make excuses and apologies before getting down to the nitty-gritty. The self-lacerating prologues generally describe how much the writer really has a lot of Jewish friends and how he or she thinks Israelis are great people and that Israel is a wonderful country before launching into what is usually a fairly mild critique.

Well, I don’t feel that way. I don’t like Israel very much. Whether or not I have Jewish friends does not define how I see Israel and is irrelevant to the argument. And as for the Israelis, when I was a CIA officer overseas, I certainly encountered many of them. Some were fine people and some were not so fine, just like the general run of people everywhere else in the world. But even the existence of good upstanding Israelis doesn’t alter the fact that the governments that they have elected are essentially part of a long-running criminal enterprise judging by the serial convictions of former presidents and prime ministers. Most recently, former President Moshe Katsav was convicted of rape, while almost every recent head of government, including the current one, has been investigated for corruption. Further, the Israeli government is a rogue regime by most international standards, engaging as it does in torture, arbitrary imprisonment, and continued occupation of territories seized by its military. Worse still, it has successfully manipulated my country, the United States, and has done terrible damage both to our political system and to the American people, a crime that I just cannot forgive, condone, or explain away.

The most recent outrage is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s direct interference in U.S. domestic politics through his appearance in a television ad appearing in Florida that serves as an endorsement of Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The Netanyahu ad and his involvement in the election has been widely reported in the media and has even been condemned by several leading Jewish congressmen, but it has elicited no response from either Obama or Romney. Both should be condemning in the strongest terms the completely unprecedented intervention by a foreign head of government in an American election. That they are saying nothing is a testament to the power that Israel and its friends in Congress and the media have over the U.S. political establishment. Romney might even privately approve of the ads, as he has basically promised to cede to Netanyahu the right to set the limits for U.S. policy in the Middle East.

And why is Benjamin Netanyahu in such a lather? It is because President Barack Obama will not concede to him a “red line” that would automatically trigger a U.S. attack on Iran. Consider for a moment the hubris of Netanyahu in demanding that Washington meet his conditions for going to war with Iran, a nation that for all its frequently described faults has not attacked anyone, has not threatened to attack anyone, and has not made the political decision to acquire a nuclear weapon in spite of what one reads in the U.S. press. At the U.N., Netanyahu’s chart showing a cartoon bomb with a sputtering fuse reminiscent of something that might have been employed by an anarchist in the 1870s failed to pass any credibility test even for the inevitable cheerleaders in the U.S. media. If the U.S. is to go to war based on a Netanyahu cartoon then it deserves everything it gets when the venture turns sour, most likely Iraq Redux, only 10 times worse.

Even more outrageous, and a lot less reported in the media, were the comments made by Patrick Clawson, director of research for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), an organization founded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). WINEP is widely viewed as a major component of the Israel Lobby in Washington and is closely tied to the Israeli government, with which it communicates on a regular basis. Clawson heads WINEP’s Iran Security Initiative. At a briefing on Sept. 24 he said, “I frankly think that crisis initiation is really tough, and it’s very hard for me to see how the United States … uh … president can get us to war with Iran.… The traditional way America gets to war is what would be best for U.S. interests.”

Note that Clawson states his conviction that initiating a crisis to get the U.S. involved in a war with Iran and thereby fooling the American people into thinking that it is the right thing to do is actually a “U.S. interest.” He cites Pearl Harbor, Fort Sumter, theLusitania, and the Gulf of Tonkin as models for how to get engaged. Which inevitably leads to Clawson’s solution: “if the Iranians aren’t going to compromise it would be best if someone else started the war … Iranian submarines periodically go down. Some day one of them may not come up…. We are in the game of using covert means against the Iranians. We could get nastier at that.” Clawson is clearly approving of Israel’s staging an incident that would lead to war, possibly even a false-flag operation carried out by Israel that would implicate the United States directly, or he is urging the White House to do the job itself.

Clawson not surprisingly has never served in the U.S. military and has a Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research, which would at first glance seem to disqualify him from figuring out how to set up a covert operation to sink a submarine and thereby start a war. He might be seen as moderately ridiculous, but like many of his neoconservative colleagues he is well wired into the system. He writes regularly for The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal; appears on television as an “expert”; and is a colleague at WINEP of the ubiquitous Dennis Ross, sometimes called “Israel’s lawyer,” who was until recently President Obama’s point man on the Middle East. Clawson is a useful idiot who would be registered as an agent of the Israeli government if the Justice Department were doing its job, but instead he is feted as a man who tells it like it is in terms of American interests. The distortion of the foreign-policy decision-making in this country is something that can be attributed to Clawson and his host of fellow travelers, all of whom promote Israel’s perceived interests at the expense of the United States. And they do it with their eyes wide open.

I will deliberately avoid belaboring another Israel Firster Pamela Geller and her New York subway posters calling Palestinians savages and Israelis civilized, as I am sure the point has been made about how any lie that can serve the cause of Israel will be aggressively defended as “free speech.” A poster excoriating Jews or blacks in similar terms as “savages” would not have seen the light of day in New York City, another indication of the power of the Lobby and its friends to control the debate about the Middle East and game the system.

And then there are the reasons to dislike Israel and what it represents that go way back. In 1952’s Lavon Affair, the Israelis were prepared to blow up a U.S. Information Center in Alexandria and blame it on the Egyptians. In 1967, the Israelis attacked and nearly sank the USS Liberty, killing 34 crewmen, and then used their power over President Lyndon Johnson to block an investigation into what had occurred. In 1987, Jonathan Pollard was convicted of spying for Israel with investigators determining that he had been the most damaging spy in the history of the United States. In the 1960s, Israelis stole uranium from a lab in Pennsylvania to construct a secret nuclear arsenal. And the spying and theft of U.S. technology continues. Israel is the most active “friendly nation” when it comes to stealing U.S. secrets, and when its spies are caught, they are either sent home or, if they are Americans, receive a slap on the wrist.

And Israel gets away with killing American citizens — literally — in the cases of Rachel Corrie and Furkan Dogan of the Mavi Marmara. And let’s not forget Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians which has made the United States complicit in a crime against humanity. Tel Aviv has also played a key role in Washington’s going to war against Iraq, in promulgating a U.S.-led global war on terror against the Muslim world, and in crying wolf over Iran, all of which have served no U.S. interest. Through it all, Congress and the media are oblivious to what is taking place. Israel is a net recipient of over $123 billion in U.S. aid and continues to get $3 billion a year even though its per capita income is higher than that of Spain or Italy. No one questions anything having to do with Israel while Congress rubber-stamps resolution after resolution virtually promising to go to war on Israel’s behalf.

I have to admit that I don’t like what my own government is doing these days, but I like Israel even less and it is past time to do something about it. No more money, no more political support, no more tolerance of spying, and no more having to listen to demands for red lines to go to war. No more favorable press when the demented Benjamin Netanyahu holds up a cartoon at the U.N. The United States government exists to serve the American people, no more, no less, and it is time that our elected representatives begin to remember that fact.

Philip Giraldi is a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a columnist and television commentator who is the Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a group that advocates for more even handed policies by the U.S. government in the Middle East.


Father Roy writes:

Talk, talk, talk.  Talk can cause mass hysteria.  The article pasted below was published today in an Israeli newspaper.  Glance at the headline.  Let us ask:  “Who is David Rothkopf?” (highlighted).  Let us wonder why claims like his (being an “expert”) are made so readily … and believed so quickly … in a culture like Israel’s … which thrives on fear. Is it not obvious?  Benjamin Netanyahu (and those who share his mindset) are determined to divert the world’s attention away from the crisis in the Holy Land … which is the central problem facing the world today … by directing everybody’s attention onto Iran. 

Here’s a worrisome development:  On Sunday Israel launched air strikes on Gaza.  Let us ask whether Rothkopf is telling the truth about the US “considering” a “surgical strike” on Iran which is a country entitled to a nuclear program (but not to nuclear weapons).  There’s a Fatwa in Iran prohibiting nuclear weapons.  Also, Iran is a signatory to the NPT.  Let us ask who is the unnamed “source” that Rothkopf quotes as being close to the US-Israeli discussions. 

Let us carefully (full of care) re-consider the warning America received from Wes Clark (08:13) in October of 2007.  (This short video is once again making the rounds on the Internet.)  Notice what General Clark has to say about the project for a new american century – AOL Search Results.  Listen to PNAC’s “experts” on FOX News.  Notice how seductive and sophisticated warmongering can be.   Peace, Roy

U.S., Israel considering joint ‘surgical strike’ on Iran’s nuclear facilities

Former Clinton administration official David Rothkopf writes in Foreign Policy that attack, which he says could not be carried out by Israel alone, would only take a few hours and would neutralize Republican criticism.

The United States and Israel are considering the possibility of a joint “surgical strike” against Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to a Foreign Policy report by David Rothkopf published Monday.

While Israel and the U.S. still don’t entirely agree on the “red line” which would trigger a military response, the report said that the Israelis are now suggesting a more limited attack than was previously debated.

Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official and international relations expert, quoted a source said to be close to the discussions, which claimed that a small-scale attack is currently viewed as the most likely military option. Such strike, the source said, is likely to only take a few hours and would be conducted by air, using bombers and supported by drones.

In order to send the Iranian nuclear program back many years, such an attack could be carried out in a joint U.S.-Israeli operation, or by the U.S. alone. The report claims Israel would not be able to carry out this kind of attack on its own.

Rothkopf argues that the threat of a limited strike would seem more credible than a full-scale attack, and so it has “a real chance of deterring the mullahs.” This threat, the report said, may also increase the chances that diplomacy would work.

The source said the possibility is also aimed at having a regional effect: “Saving Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, reanimating the peace process, securing the Gulf, sending an unequivocal message to Russia and China, and assuring American ascendancy in the region for a decade to come.”

According to the report, another consideration for a limited strike is a political one. Bringing up the possibility of a limited, aerial assault, could defuse Romney’s criticism, since the likelihood of such an attack of being carried out is higher


Father Roy writes:The mainstream media simply refused to cover the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.  One is tempted to ask who owns the (deleted) mainstream media.  Not to worry, Peers.  Let’s thank God for the Internet.  On the Internet there’s information at our fingertips.  We network and exchange what we know.  Attitudes influenced in Cyberspace create facts on the ground.  The days of “Ignorance is Bliss” are over.  “Let not your hearts be troubled, Peers.”  We’ll figure out ways to right some wrongs.  Cooperative efforts will be required, of course.  But when we really and truly think about it, all we need to do … one individual at a time … is focus collectively and simultaneously on the issues that matter most to us and reach consensus.  That’s all we need to do.   Peace, Roy 

Russell Tribunal on Palestine offers alternative perspective

Posted on October 9, 2012

In an effort to publicize Israeli violations of international law against the Palestinian people, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine held its fourth session this past weekend.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine, an independent human rights organization founded in 2009, has convened in Barcelona in 2010, London in 2010 and Cape Town in 2011 to present different aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The New York City session focused on denouncing the United States and the United Nations for their complicity in the actions of Israel and failure to bring justice to the region.

“Several participants would like to press for changes in the [United Nations], such as ending the veto power of the richest and most powerful nations, which allows for the U.S. to single-handedly obstruct justice,” said Sherry Wolf, media coordinator for the tribunal.

The tribunal said the United States and the United Nations have supported Israel with economic and military aid. According to its findings, Israel receives 60 percent of U.S. Foreign Military Financing and has been the largest beneficiary of U.S. foreign aid since 1976.

This session featured notable speakers such as Ilan Pappé and Noam Chomsky and jurors including Alice Walker and Angela Davis, in hopes of garnering media attention.

However, Wolf said this has proven to be extremely difficult, particularly in the United States.

“There is an enforced blackout of Palestinian voices and points of view in the U.S.,” Wolf said. Mainstream media were well-informed about our tribunal with some of the most prominent names in civil rights, scholarly, cultural and legal circles and simply refused to cover it.

Ilan Pappé, the opening speaker at the tribunal and a renowned Israeli historian, said the mainstream media must use a historical perspective to fully understand the issue.

“I think that hearing a different narrative, a different version of these events … eventually makes way on how politicians, journalists and the common public relate to the issue of Palestine,” Pappé said.

Emah Rajeh, a CAS junior and member of NYU Students for Justice in Palestine,

“It is without a doubt a historic step in the right direction,” Rajeh said. “For years, dissent or criticism of Israel has been seen as taboo, but with this tribunal, we hope it will encourage understanding the conflict as not a relationship between equal parties, but as one that consists of an oppressor and an oppressed.”

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine plans to hold its final session in February 2013 to present the cumulative conclusions of all the hearings. The location of this session has not yet been announced.